Friday, December 10, 2010

Empty Chair

Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese poet and essayist, is serving an 11-year sentence for penning a manifesto calling for greater freedoms in China. He has not been seen in public since he was moved to his current prison in May.

The Nobel organization, with its long-standing position that human rights are universal values awarded the prize to Liu in his absence.

China not only disallowed Liu to attend, it successfully lobbied 18 countries to boycott the ceremony and in China censors blocked international television and websites carrying news of the event.

Not since 1936 has a country blocked a recipient from attending to accept the award. That was Nazi Germany.

For China to spend so much energy to attempt to scrub or censor information about this award to Liu speaks volumes about the paranoia that continues to plague the Chinese government.  It also demonstrates how little faith they have in the Chinese people. 

Those present at the award ceremony were told that it was Liu Xiaobo's wish that the award be dedicated to "the lost souls of June 4," referring to the day the Chinese troops opened fire on demonstrators gathered in Tiananmen Square killing many young Chinese pro-democracy students who were protesting; unarmed.
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